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Cibola's Ray finds way to dominate on the court despite softball commitment
When it comes to athletics, Sarah Ray is a softball player first.
That makes her basketball achievements even more impressive.
Ray averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game this year, helping Cibola to a fourth straight Gila Valley Region title and earning the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2010 All-Region Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Ray won last year's Sun/Rotary softball top honor for her performance in the circle for the Raiders. Her basketball coach, Justin Hager, said she deserves a lot of credit for the balancing act.
"She's done a great job as far as balancing the two sports," Hager said. "I know (softball is) her main sport, but she's done as much as she can do in the summertime as far as balancing the two. She just did a great job her senior year committing herself to making the most of her ability and putting in as much time as possible."
Practicing one sport doesn't necessarily mean not practicing another, Ray said.
"You just have to balance it and practice both every day," she said. "They help each other because basketball is a lot more running. You get in better shape, so that help me get ready for softball, too. They work together very well."
Ray, who had 12 double-doubles on the year, has signed to pitch for Phoenix College next year. Which sport she likes more, she said, depends on the time of year.
"It goes back and forth during seasons," Ray said. "I get more into softball during softball season and during basketball season I'm more into basketball. Basketball is more my 'relax, have fun' sport where I just go out there and run.
"Basketball is a different kind of sport. It has a different intensity and a faster pace," she said. "It's a little bit different and more exciting sometimes."
Ray was a strong presence in the paint for the Raiders, who lost in the first round of the playoffs. Even when opposing teams keyed on her, she would find ways to get her teammates the ball. Hager said she was a good passer.
"She takes what teams give her," Hager said. "She doesn't try to make things happen that aren't there. She plays within herself and waits for her time to step up and make plays."
And while getting her the ball could sometimes be a bit tricky, Hager said she always made the most of her scoring opportunities.
"She was our go-to guy a little bit. She was the person we tried to revolve our offense around," Hager said. "We knew that she was going to be a key contributor to it and people were going to try and shut her down, but it was just a matter to use some different philosophies to get her the basketball."